Sunil Chettri shines as India lift SAFF Suzuki Cup

KATHMANDU: India came from behind to beat Afghanistan 2-1 in the final.

Sunil chettri's extra time goal  proved to be enough for India to lift the SAFF Suzuki Cup for the record seventh time in the history of SAFF Championship.

Chettri set up the goal for Jeje Lalpekhlua and scored the decisive goal in the first half of the extra time to give India the cup.

The Indian captain was declared the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and Afghanistan striker Zubayr Amiri claimed the top scorer award.

Today's final would be the last appearance of Afghanistan in the SAFF Championship as they move to Central Asian Confederation from the SAARC region to play football.



26': India make the first substitution of the game.

25': Afghanistan hit the post in the dying minutes, afghan coach sent off.

11' (Extra time): Captain Sunil Chhetri scored the second goal for India. It might lead India to win the title for the record seventh time.

93': The added time could not decide. The match was headed to the extra time.

90': Three minutes were added on the regular time.

85': Referee booked Afghan defender Hassan Amin for bringing down India's Holi Charan Narzary just outside the penalty area and Sunil Chhetri superbly curled the free kick, spectacularly saved by the Afghan goalie.

83': Afghanistan made the first substitution.

75': Japanese referee showed an yellow card to Indian defender Narayan Das for elbowing Afghan scorer Amiri.

72': Just after three minutes of Afghanistan's lead, India's Jeje Lalpekhlua scored an equaliser.

69': Afghanistan's Zubayr Amiri coolly slotted the ball under the legs of Indian goalie to the left corner of the post to give Afghanistan a deserved lead.

55': India came as close as scoring a goal as Jeje Lalpekhlua curled the ball and it cannoned off the post.

52': Afghanistan earned a first corner kick of the second half as India goalie Gurpreet Singh Sandhu parried the ball to safety after Afghanistan's Noraollah Amiri had a fierce right-footed shot from right channel of the penalty area.

46': The second half began.

45': The first half ended with India 0-0 Afghanistan.

As the game approached end of the first half, Afghanistan defender Kanischka Taher was shown a yellow card.

33': India captain Sunil Chhetri chested down the cross from the left flank inside the penalty area, dribbled past three defenders before and his left-footed shot was safely smothered by Afghan goalie.

31': Jeje Lalpekhlua was cautioned for fowl play.

30': Till the 30th minute, both the teams have not scored.

14': An upright came to rescue Afghanistan as Jeje Lalpekhlua's header rebounded off the post and prevented India from taking an early lead.

KATHMANDU: Hosts India and defending champions Afghanistan are vying for the trophy of South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship in Trivandrum in the Indian state of Kerala.

Tournament favourites India are looking to take revenge on Afghanistan and compensate the loss they suffered in the final two years ago in Kathmandu.

India are looking to lift the trophy for the record seventh time in the history of SAFF Championship.

Afghanistan too are looking to defend the trophy against its arch-rivals India.

India had made it to the final with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Maldives whereas Afghanistan demolished  Sri-Lanka with an easy 5-0 score.

Current FIFA ranking shows Afghanistan (150) at 15 position higher than India.

In the past games, however, India hold the upper hand between these two countries. Out of six games played between them, India have won four, drawn one and lost one.

India Starting XI

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Augustin M. Fernandes

Arban Mandal

Pritam Kotal

Narayan Das

Rowlin Borges

Bikash Jairu

Eugeneson Lyndgodh

Sunil Chhetri (C)

Jeje Lalpekhlua

Holi Charan Narzary

Afghanistan Starting XI

Ovays Azizi

Hassan Amin

Sayed M. Hashemi

Masih Saighani

Mustafa Hadid

Kanischka Taher

Zubayr Amiri

Mustafa Zarai

Noraollah Amiri

Abassin Alikhil

Faysal Shayesteh (C)